I have a collection of small rocks. They have no value, except to me. I keep each of them in a different spot. One is in a little make-up purse. One is sitting in a jewelry dish. If you saw them you’d think they did not belong there… you might even throw them away. To me, they are treasures! I love my dirt covered little rocks. Each of them carry memories and hopes of answered prayers.
The collection began the night before I left on my first overseas adventure. We had a commissioning service for about 100 people who were heading to various parts of Asia for the summer. The speaker handed us each a small rock from his backyard. He challenged us to keep it with us during our time serving in these places. He reminded us that sometimes it takes a long time for people to choose to follow Jesus. As we shared Christ’s love with those we met, it would be as though we were throwing these small rocks into a huge lake. We may be able to notice a small splash but often we wouldn’t notice any dynamic change in the big picture, yet, long after that initial moment of contact ripples would continue to go out and the make up of the lake would change as small rocks collected at the bottom and shifted things around.
Ever since then, I’ve made it a habit to pick up small rocks in all the places God sends me to share His truth. I keep them as reminders to pray for the ripples that continue long after I walk away from the picture.
Last year I posted this blog as I wondered about and prayed for the ripples that began that summer. As I thought about the kids who were only 8 years old when I met them I wrote: I was thinking about them today and realized they are teenagers now. I wish I could find them all and see how they’re doing. I didn’t think I would ever hear from any of them. Well! … recently, I received a message saying: “hello. Do you remember me? 6 years ago you came… ”
It was one of those students I have been praying for the last 6 years! That morning he had found a postcard I had given to each of the students my last day with them. On it I wrote, “I hope to you see you again someday!” and I gave them my email address. SIX YEARS LATER he found it in his closet and decided to find me! We’ve had many long conversations since then. I can not believe some of the things he remembers that I taught him that summer. He is still in contact with many of the other students and has caught me up on many of their lives. He says that they all still talk about “their American teacher.” I’m hoping to be able to reconnect with more of them and to have conversations that I was not able to have with them at the time because of their English levels.
I’m so thankful that God has given me an opportunity to look into the ripples and, I pray, even to throw more rocks into the lake!
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” I Corinthians 3:7